As the largest private funder of human services in the region, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago understands that quality delivery of human services is critical to both serving our most vulnerable citizens, and to improving the economic future of our state.

We recognize that the state is under significant fiscal pressure that it must resolve for the greater good of Illinois, and budget cuts will be required to do this.

We are concerned about the impact of cuts to human services on Illinois children and families. We realize government cannot fulfill our human infrastructure needs alone. We believe that sustaining human services in our state will require a collaborative effort among government, civic and private sectors and that we must act on this together now.

We look forward to working with the administration to help determine new service delivery approaches, to create and incentivize efficiencies, and to provide quality, cost-effective social services to the citizens of Illinois amidst considerable fiscal challenges.

Advancing the Common Good

Because no single organization or single sector working alone can solve our communities’ most serious problems, United Way believes we must work together to unite non-profit and private sector efforts with those of government at every level. For this reason, public policy is an essential component to achieving our mission and goals.

United Way’s policy agenda reflects our investment in the areas of Education, Income and Health. Additionally, United Way advocates for sound policies affecting the non-profit sector’s capacity to Advance the Common Good.

Through public policy advocacy, United Way seeks to achieve systemic change and long-term solutions to community problems for issues aligned with our mission.


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Phone toll-free by entering your zip code to select your Senator and Representative: 888-616-3322

We are making it simple for you to contact your lawmakers. Materials available for your use include:

A sample phone script when you call your legislators

A sample letter to email or fax State Senators or Representatives

A fact sheet that outlines the likely consequences of the current budget

A handout for you to pass out to friends and family or at public events

Public Policy Agenda


United Way advocates for public policies that expand opportunities for children ages 0-5 to be prepared when they enter kindergarten and middle school students transition to high school prepared to graduate.

United Way’s 2012 Education Public Policy Agenda:

  • Make available to all children high quality, affordable early learning opportunities.
  • Promote partnerships that support family engagement and community-based involvement to improve student academic achievement.
  • Support comprehensive and consistent assessment and measurement standards from Pre-K through high school graduation.


Financial stability has taken on greater importance for many Illinoisans as our economy struggles to rebound and more families are living in poverty. The increased need calls for increased vigilance in helping people across the state achieve financial stability.

To better prepare individuals and families to successfully weather challenges and meet basic needs, United Way is focused on the following strategies to ensure people achieve economic stability: job training and placements, access to public benefits and asset building.

United Way’s 2012 Income Public Policy Agenda:

  • Promote sector-based employment training programs that help people prepare for jobs in high-demand sectors.
  • Improve access to income supports by streamlining local and state processes for critical public benefits.
  • Increase the impact of financial literacy education by incorporating quality standards and savings opportunities.


Access to health care is the key to ensuring Illinoisans can lead healthy lives. Health care early in life and throughout adulthood is an important way to prevent obesity and chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease that are becoming more common today. Chronic disease is the cause of more than half of the deaths in Illinois every year.

United Way’s 2012 Health Public Policy Agenda:

  • Support access to health care by connecting people to affordable, comprehensive health services.
  • Combat preventable chronic disease through promotion of strategies that support wellness and healthy lifestyles.

Sector Strengthening

Illinoisans want a strong and prosperous future, supported by a strong and well-managed public infrastructure. Like roads, hospitals and schools, community services are part of our state’s vital public infrastructure that must be maintained and strengthened. We have a shared responsibility to promote the common good by ensuring the state has a well-managed network of community services that protect and invest in our states most vital resource: our people.

United Way’s Sector Strengthening 2012 Public Policy Agenda:

  • Advocate for a state budget that preserves the current level of investment in Illinois’ health and human services.
  • Promote fair, efficient and transparent contracting practices between service providers and government funders.
  • Support efforts to reduce unnecessary state administrative burdens on human service providers and their programs.
  • Enhance community resources that ensure a seamless infrastructure of health and human service support those in need.